In a year filled with expectation and promise, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts faced an uphill battle as the team set its sights on the 2023 World Series, only to face disappointment with a less-than-stellar starting rotation.
With only three healthy starters at his disposal, the cracks in the foundation began to show, leading the Dodgers to an untimely exit in the NLDS. The series opener can hardly be placed on Roberts’ shoulders, as veteran pitcher Clayton Kershaw was unexpectedly ambushed in the very first inning of work.
Roberts managed to showcase his tactical skills in Game 2, making a crucial decision to pull Bobby Miller amidst struggles with command. This strategic move, coupled with a stellar performance from the bullpen, kept the Dodgers within striking distance.
Game 3 Conundrum
However, the choices made in Game 3 have left analysts and fans alike scratching their heads, marking a perplexing end to yet another 100-win regular season. Brian Kenny, a renowned analyst from MLB Network, did not mince words when discussing the managerial decisions made during this critical juncture: “Dave Roberts, an otherwise excellent manager, saw his season end with Lance Lynn giving up four home runs in a single inning of an elimination game.
Lynn, leading baseball in home runs allowed, was our last resort, and that's a puzzle I can't solve”. Lynn, despite his season-long struggle with home runs, was the Dodgers’ last line of defense in an attempt to salvage their season in the NLDS.
His recurring issue came to a head as he allowed four solo home runs to Diamondback hitters in a single inning. The Dodgers’ offense, which had been their backbone throughout the season, fell silent when it mattered the most, culminating in a 4-2 loss.
The lackluster performance from key players, including NL MVP candidates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, who went a combined 1-21 in the series, only added salt to the wound. As the Dodgers reflect on a season that promised so much, the questions surrounding their exit will continue to linger, with all eyes on how Roberts and his team will bounce back from this postseason puzzle.